The Meaning of Unhinged: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the definition of unhinged? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the word unhinged, including its definition, usage, example sentences, and more!

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What does the word unhinged mean?

According to Merriam-Webster Unabridged English Dictionary, the word unhinged is an adjective pronounced ʌnˈhɪndʒ that means disturbed, unstable or insane. This is more than just an unhinged gate or unhinged door; unhinged is used to describe someone who has been driven to insanity or madness. This could be from a mental disorder or suicidal illness and require treatment at a private hospital, or it could be the result of stress or other causes. An example of something that is unhinged could be the unhinged rants of celebrities on various social media platforms, or unhinged analysts on television in fits of rage. This could even lead to terrorism, violent acts or a nuclear attack. It is important to keep one’s mental health balanced and under control so one does not become unhinged. 

Many different languages also use words that mean unhinged, though they do not have the same idiomatic structure as the word unhinged, which implies a vision of someone flying off the handle or a door off its hinges. You may notice that some of these words look similar to English words of a similar meaning. These are called cognates. This list of translations for the term deranged is provided by Word Sense.

  • Azeri: dəli‎
  •  Czech: šílený‎, pominutý‎, trhlý‎, potrhlý‎, zbavený rozumu‎, ztřeštěný‎, bláznivý‎
  •  Khmer: ឆ្កួត‎ (ckuət), លលាតែ‎ (lɔlie tae), ឧម្មត្តកៈ‎ (ummatta’ka’) (formal)
  •  Finnish: hullu‎, mieletön‎, järjetön‎
  •  Estonian: hull‎
  •  Latvian: traks‎, ārprātīgs‎, vājprātīgs‎
  •  Russian: сумасше́дший‎, безу́мный‎, умалишённый‎
  •  Malay: gila‎
  •  Sundanese: gélo‎
  •  Macedonian: луд‎ (lud)
  •  Italian: pazzo‎, matto‎
  •  Romanian: nebun‎ (masc.), înnebunit‎, tulburat‎
  •  Mandarin: 瘋狂‎, 疯狂‎ (fēngkuáng), 瘋‎, 疯‎ (fēng)
  •  Catalan: boig‎
  •  Portuguese: louco‎, maluco‎, doido‎
  •  Latgalian: troks‎
  •  Indonesian: gila‎
  •  Arabic: مَجْنُون‎
  •  Maori: pōrewharewha‎
  •  Scottish Gaelic: craicte‎, às a chiall‎ 
  •  Korean: 미친‎
  •  Greek: τρελός‎ (masc.)
  •  Latin: delirus‎
  •  Burmese: နှမ်း‎ (hnan:)
  •  Cantonese: 癡線‎ (ci1 sin3), 癲‎, 癫‎ (din1)
  •  Pashto: لېونی‎ (lewanay)
  •  Swedish: galen‎, tok‎, tokig‎
  •  Tagalog: (literally) baliw‎
  •  Cebuano: buang‎
  •  Hindi: पागल‎ (pāgal)
  •  Georgian: შეშლილი‎, გადარეული‎, გიჟი‎
  •  Hungarian: bolond‎, őrült‎
  •  Turkish: aptal‎, deli‎, manyak‎
  •  Volapük: lienetik‎
  •  Japanese: 狂しい‎ (くるおしい, kuruoshii)
  •  Danish: skør‎
  •  Spanish: loco‎, trastonado‎, trastornado‎
  •  Maltese: miġnun‎ (masc.)
  •  Bulgarian: луд‎
  •  Esperanto: freneza‎
  •  Polish: szalony‎ (masc.)
  •  Hawaiian: pupule‎
  •  Urdu: پاگل‎ (pāgal)
  •  German: verrückt‎
  •  French: fou‎
  •  Armenian: խենթ‎, խելագար‎, գիժ‎
  •  Dutch: zot‎, gek‎, getikt‎, gestoord‎, krankjorum‎, geschift‎

How can the word unhinged be used in a sentence?

The word unhinged can be used to describe many different people and behaviours in a plethora of different circumstances. In this first example, Rebecca is telling Jamie all about her math class.

Rebecca: Dude, did you hear about what happened in Mr. Robitussin’s class?

Jamie: No, what happened?

Rebecca: Miles came absolutely unhinged. He started yelling at all of us about how we don’t know him and don’t know his life. All this crazy conspiracy stuff. It was really scary. Mr. R ended up calling security.

Jamie: Whoa. I hope Miles is okay.

Here, Rebecca says that her classmate Miles came unhinged and began ranting and raving in the middle of math class. They worry about his mental health. Next, Rebecca’s dad is frustrated with her for her low grade on a math test.

Dad: I don’t understand it, Rebecca. Did you even study?

Rebecca: Yes, I did! I just don’t understand it. I don’t know what to do.

Dad: If you don’t get an A on your next exam, I’m going to come unhinged. I will not stand for this any longer. 

What are synonyms and antonyms for the word unhinged?

There are many different words that a person can use in place of the word unhinged. These are called synonyms, which are words and phrases that have the same definition as another word or phrase. Synonyms are useful to know if you are trying to avoid repeating yourself as well as if you are trying to expand your vocabulary. This list of synonyms for the word unhinged is provided by Thesaurus.

  • deranged
  •  mental
  •  delirious
  •  flipped out
  •  cuckoo
  •  fruity
  •  maniacal
  •  lunatic
  •  out of one’s tree
  •  unzipped
  •  mad
  •  unsound
  •  cracked
  •  daft
  •  dotty
  •  wacky
  •  round the bend
  •  frantic
  •  out to lunch
  •  out of one’s mind
  •  touched
  •  frenzied
  •  berserk
  •  demented
  •  unsettled
  •  nutty as fruitcake
  •  schizzo
  •  perplexed
  •  baked
  •  erratic
  •  idiotic
  •  screwball
  •  maniac
  •  batty
  •  insane
  •  irrational
  •  crazed
  •  disarranged
  •  dippy
  •  screw loose
  •  kooky
  •  loopy
  •  freaked out
  •  maddened
  •  schizo
  •  bonkers
  •  mad as a hatter
  •  flipped
  •  unglued
  •  bats in the belfry
  •  unbalanced
  •  fried
  •  distracted
  •  ape
  •  flaky
  •  disconcerted
  •  bananas
  •  whacko
  •  of unsound mind
  •  dingy
  •  loco
  •  moonstruck
  •  nuts
  •  crazy
  •  mad as a March hare
  •  unscrewed
  •  silly
  •  nutty
  •  confused
  •  disordered
  •  displaced
  •  manic
  •  psycho
  •  barmy
  •  potty
  •  disturbed
  •  screwy

There are also numerous words and phrases that have the opposite meaning as the word unhinged. These are called antonyms, or opposite words. These are also very useful for expanding your English language vocabulary. This list of antonyms for the word unhinged is also provided by Thesaurus

  • objective
  •  judicious
  •  ratiocinative
  •  rational
  •  together
  •  synthetic
  •  reasonable
  •  perspicacious
  •  sound
  •  sagacious
  •  thinking
  •  normal
  •  intelligent
  •  discerning
  •  lucid
  •  having all marbles
  •  balanced
  •  deliberate
  •  cognitive
  •  cerebral
  •  commonsensical
  •  well-advised
  •  right
  •  wise
  •  reflective
  •  discriminating
  •  of sound mind
  •  prudent
  •  stable
  •  impartial
  •  thoughtful
  •  cool
  •  intellectual
  •  logical
  •  sane
  •  far-sighted
  •  levelheaded
  •  sage
  •  collected
  •  oriented
  •  sober
  •  both oars in water
  •  sensible
  •  enlightened
  •  circumspect
  •  knowing
  •  analytical
  •  sapient
  •  self-possessed
  •  fair-minded
  •  reasoning
  •  deductive
  •  all there
  •  compos mentis
  •  fit
  •  healthy
  •  in one’s right mind
  •  calm
  •  playing with full deck
  •  moderate
  •  well
  •  philosophic
  •  steady
  •  right-minded

Overall, the word unhinged is an adjective that can be used to describe someone who is mentally unwell or deranged. This term can be used to describe someone who has a mental illness that causes fits of range or manic energy, or someone who has been driven to insanity by stress or other causes. 

Sources:

  1. https://www.wordsense.eu/unhinged/
  2. https://www.thesaurus.com/browse/sane
  3. https://www.thesaurus.com/browse/unhinged
  4. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unhinged